Crash Course: Shtick to Business: How the Masters of Comedy Can Help Entrepreneurs Get the Last Laugh

Tags: Entrepreneurship

In partnership with the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship.

What can you learn about professional success from Chris Rock, Joan Rivers, and Charlie Chaplin? Just ask a behavioral scientist who teaches MBAs by day and decodes comedy by night.

Dr. Peter McGraw—a business school professor, author, and founder of the Humor Research Lab (aka HuRL)—translates the perspectives and practices of the world’s funniest people into powerful prescriptions for professional success. Drawing on real-world case studies from his global travels to crack the humor code, cutting-edge behavioral economics research, and his own comedy successes (and failures), McGraw reveals how the perspectives and practices of stand-ups, improvisers, writers, directors, clowns, and other comedy misfits can help you live a more successful professional life. (And you will never have to tell a joke.)

McGraw pulls back the curtain on the craft of comedy to give you a glimpse into a mysterious world that will surprise you. Lessons include:

  • How a simple “101” comedy trick can overcome biases, facilitate innovation, and identify new business opportunities
  • Why Nike and other innovative brands are behaving like Richard Pryor and Sarah Silverman in order to get ahead of the competition
  • How the daily practices of Jerry Seinfeld and other great comedy writers can be used from the C-suite to the sales floor to improve productivity and well-being
  • Why Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s approach to improvisational comedy is the model for the radical collaboration necessary to implement creative solutions
  • When in the career of a comic—and a business professional—is saying “no” more important than saying “yes”

Dr. Peter McGraw, a behavioral scientist, is a world leader in the study of humor. He directs The Humor Research Lab (HuRL), is the co-author of The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, and hosts the podcast I’M NOT JOKING. McGraw’s work has been covered by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TIME, NPR, BBC, and CNN. As a marketing and psychology professor, he teaches graduate courses in behavioral economics and marketing management for the University of Colorado Boulder, University of California – San Diego, and London Business School. He gives talks at elite universities (e.g., Harvard, Stanford) and Fortune 500 companies (e.g., Google, Viacom).

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